Apple is known for being cautious when it comes to implementing new technology in their hardware, often waiting until the market is ready and the technology is ready for mass production.
This is evident in the late implementation of Qi wireless charging in the iPhone X and iPhone 8, years after many Android manufacturers had already adopted the technology.
The same can be seen in their adoption of USB-C across their products, but still sticking to Lightning for iPhones. The same can be said for foldable technology.
Samsung has been at the forefront of foldables for the past four to five years, with their flagship phones, the Flip 4 and the Fold 4, selling decently well. However, foldable technology is still far from perfect. Many Samsung phones still have that crease in the center of the screen, which affects the user experience.
Motorola has attempted to tackle this issue with their teardrop foldable design, which pulls the screen in, avoiding a complete crease of the screen. But this approach also comes with its own set of problems. Microsoft also attempted to bring a foldable to market with the Surface Duo, which featured two separate screens, but the product flopped and only had two iterations.
Despite the increasing popularity of foldables, Apple seems content with continuing to roll out rectangular slabs and enhancing them as much as they can. But there will come a time where they will have to bring foldable technology to the market to appease different sectors of the market.
While not many consumers may be yearning for a foldable iPhone, many tech enthusiasts and Apple fans are eagerly waiting for one. However, it seems like a foldable iPad will be coming before a foldable iPhone.
There were reports from Ross Young and Ming-Chi Kuo that there was no indication that Apple was going to be releasing or manufacturing any foldable screens until 2025 or 2026. But Ming-Chi Kuo recently announced that there will definitely be a foldable iPad coming in 2024.
Apple has perfected the way they want their iPad lineup to be, with the latest 10th generation iPad featuring a bezel-less design. They are expected to let the lineup sit for a while and see a decline in sales figures before introducing a foldable iPad.
Ming-Chi Kuo is taking a cautious approach to iPad shipments for 2023, predicting a year over year decline of 10 to 50%. Nevertheless, he is positive about the foldable iPad in 2024 and believes that it will boost shipments and improve the product mix.
The exact form factor of the foldable iPad is still unknown, but it could either be an iPad mini that folds down into an iPhone form factor or a 14-inch iPad that folds down into a smaller tablet form factor that can also be used as a desktop or laptop solution.
Apple is also said to be working on a carbon fiber kickstand for the foldable iPad, which could indicate that they are planning on using the tablet as a laptop replacement with a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse.
The foldable iPad will bring another product category to the tablet market and it will be interesting to see what direction Apple takes with the foldable technology.
The arrival of a foldable iPad before a foldable iPhone is highly anticipated and expected to boost shipments and improve the product mix. While the exact form factor is still unknown, there are multiple possibilities and it will be exciting to see what Apple has in store for the foldable market.
The carbon fiber kickstand could indicate that they are planning on using the tablet as a laptop replacement, but only time will tell.